Place Value and it’s importance
Our last blog talked of children confusing 14 and 41 and transposing numbers, and this leads us beautifully to Place Value. As I trained as a teacher I do not remember anybody even mentioning the concept. I’m shouting it out – PLACE VALUE UNDERPINS THE WHOLE OF OUR MATHS SYSTEM. We take it for granted that children understand how adding ten is adding 1 ten to the correct column. Children have to visualize the value of the columns. Ask children little checks:
Which digit is worth the most in 128? Even a few year 6 children will say 8.
Verbally ask them to write down 132. How many will write 10032?
How many tens in 64? So obvious to us, it is in the number!
Add ten to 34. Do they ‘count on’ fingers and not add 1 ten to 3?
Add 111 to any three digit number ………. Fast! i.e. 1 to each column.
If they do not understand Place Value, the foundations will not be secure. Nor do children have to wait until Year 2 before they start the concept. If they can count to 10, they can start grouping numbers beyond this as 1 ten and see the loose ones as 1 ten and 1, 1 ten and 2, 1 ten and 3 etc.